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The American Kennel Club® announced recently that the Delaware County Kennel Club (DCKC) of Delaware County, Pennsylvania has been named a recipient of the AKC® Community Achievement Award for providing their local police K-9s and emergency medical teams with bulletproof vests and oxygen masks. The DCKC received one of three awards for the first quarter of 2008- Illini Great Dane Club and Lexington Kennel Club also received recognition.

The AKC Community Achievement Awards support and recognize outstanding public education and legislation efforts of AKC-affiliated clubs, AKC-recognized federations and their members. The AKC selects award recipients who promote purebred dogs and responsible dog ownership within their communities or who have successfully introduced, monitored and responded to legislative issues affecting dog ownership.

In late 2007, the DCKC accomplished its long-term goal of outfitting all 14 of the police K-9s in its county with bulletproof vests, a project several years in the making due to the vests' high cost. The vests were presented to the officers and their K-9 partners at the club's annual show. In addition, the club arranged for the K-9 handlers and their families to attend a club luncheon in their honor before the presentation, and each handler received a citation of merit from Congressman Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania's seventh district.

DCKC also donated 70 pet oxygen masks to the emergency medical teams in their community. The masks are used to revive pets suffering from smoke inhalation. Club members presented the county's top fire officials with the masks at a DCKC show, where they also conducted a demonstration on how to use them properly.

The work of the DCKC, which also includes monthly nursing home visits, has not gone unnoticed by its community. The club was named the Pennsylvania Dog Federation's 2005 Club of the Year, and the Council of Delaware County issued a resolution of merit to the club in 2006 for “outstanding community service.”

“AKC congratulates the members of the Delaware County Kennel Club for working to keep both the K-9s and the local pets in their county safe,” said Noreen Baxter, AKC's VP of Communications.  “The items they donated are often expensive and difficult for departments to obtain. The club has provided a real service for their community and we applaud their continuing outreach efforts.”

Nominations for the AKC Community Achievement Awards are accepted year-round. Up to three honorees are named each quarter. They receive a certificate of appreciation and a $1,000 check payable to the club or federation's public education and canine legislation efforts. Nominate a club.